The Cosby Show Seasons 1-8 DVD Boxset (

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The Cosby Show is an American television situation comedy starring Bill Cosby, first airing on September 20, 1984 and running for eight seasons on the NBC television network, until April 30, 1992. The show focused on the Huxtable family, an upper-middle class African-American family living in Brooklyn, New York.

According to TV Guide, the show "was TV's biggest hit in the 1980s, and almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre and NBC's ratings fortunes".[1] Originally, the show had been pitched to ABC, which rejected it. Entertainment Weekly stated that The Cosby Show helped to make possible a larger variety of shows based on African Americans, from In Living Color to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The Cosby Show was also one of the first successful sitcoms based on the subject matter of a standup comedian’s act, blazing a trail for other programs such as Roseanne, Home Improvement, The Drew Carey Show, Seinfeld, and Everybody Loves Raymond. The Cosby Show is one of only three American programs that have been #1 in the Nielsen Ratings for five consecutive seasons, along with All in the Family and American Idol. The show spawned the successful spin-off A Different World.

Having aired for 197 episodes (201 in syndication), The Cosby Show is the third-longest running U.S. comedy with a predominantly African-American cast, surpassed only by The Jeffersons and Family Matters.

The genesis of the show was in the early 1980s. Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, two former executives at ABC, left the network to start their own production company. They turned ABC in the late 1970s into the top network in television with their great eye for sitcoms like Mork & Mindy, Three's Company and Welcome Back, Kotter.

The two decided in order to get a sitcom to sell for their fledgling company, they needed a big name behind it. Bill Cosby, who during the 1970s starred in two failed sitcoms, produced award-winning stand-up comedy albums, and had roles in several different films, was relatively quiet during the early 1980s. Outside of his work on his cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, he was doing little in the fields of film and television. The two watched his stand-up comedy film, Bill Cosby: Himself. They loved the routine and decided they wanted to build a television series around a comedian's subject material which, with Cosby, was observations of life and family.

After meeting with them, Cosby returned to Carsey and Werner with his own ideas: the family would be blue-collared, with a stay at home mother and a limousine driving father with two sons and two daughters. Carsey and Werner convinced Cosby to make the family well-off financially, with both parents in lucrative and challenging fields. That way, the focus of the show would be Cosby's comedic material from his stand-up routines.

The show focused on the Huxtable family, an upper-middle class African-American family living in a brownstone in Brooklyn Heights, New York, at 10 Stigwood Avenue. The patriarch was Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable, an obstetrician. The matriarch was his wife, attorney Clair Huxtable née Hanks. Despite its comedic tone, the show sometimes involved serious subjects, such as son Theo's experiences dealing with dyslexia, inspired by Cosby's child Ennis, who was also dyslexic.

Cosby had an unusually high level of creative control over the show. He wanted the program to be educational, reflecting his own background in education. He also insisted that the program be taped in New York City rather than Los Angeles, where most television programs were taped.

The earliest episodes of the series were videotaped at NBC's Studio One facility in Brooklyn. The network later sold that building, and production moved to the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens.

Although the cast and characters were predominantly African-American, the program was unusual in that issues of race were rarely mentioned when compared to other situation comedies of the time, such as The Jeffersons. However, The Cosby Show had African-American themes, such as civil rights marches, and it frequently promoted African-American and African culture represented by artists and musicians such as Jacob Lawrence, Miles Davis, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Miriam Makeba.

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